Review: Belfray Country Inn

When 4 avid shoppers set off on a road trip to the Maiden City, the first thing they need is 'fuelled up with food' to sustain them through this true test of endurance which is not for the weak or feeble.

The Belfray Country Inn was today's picking. Who could drive past and not be tempted by this description on their Facebook page: 'A long established country residence is the setting for this uniquely stylish hotel: the Belfray County Inn oozes warmth and character in a peaceful location with a warming restaurant, stylish bistro with luxury accommodation and grand ballroom.' We were on a mission. We didn't want a long, leisurely, lingering, lunch – just good homemade grub that would set us up for the day… And quick!

No gimmicks, no fuss, no precious shopping time wasted. We were shown to our table by a very jolly member of staff who had that wonderful Derry twang that you could listen to all day. He explained the menu options and took our drinks order.

To get to our table we had to walk past the daily carvery. Well that was us sold – the smell, the visual appeal of it, had us hooked even before we sat down; we all knew that this was exactly what we wanted. There was a choice of 3 meats and also a very appealing looking homemade pie. The server explained you could opt for the pie or a choice of 2 of the meats.

On that particular day it was roast beef, turkey and ham. Most of us opted for the turkey and ham. I went first and set the precedent for the others. I think they just wanted to see how big a gorb I was and how high my plate was going to be piled. Well, I didn't disappoint.

Succulent turkey, tender ham, 2 scoops of creamed potato, a large roastie, carrots, parsnip, cabbage and my fav of all, steeped peas - just like my granny used to make. As if that wasn't enough, I agreed to add a couple of cocktails sausages to the already over flowing plate. I did decline on the offer of some stuffing and a Yorkshire pudding though. Finally just to assist me in getting this mass of food into my belly, I topped it all with a generous serving of gravy and a dollop of cranberry sauce. It was absolutely delicious! Had Christmas come early? All of this for a steal at £9.95 per person.

When we returned to our table, our cheery waiter was delivering our drinks order. As I was the designated driver that day, I had opted just for water, my shopping companions ordered alcohol. To ensure I didn't feel left out, the waiter served my water in one of those trendy new Gin 'fishbowl' type glasses complete with ice and a slice, and a straw. What a lovely touch.

I can't comment on the normal lunchtime menu as we didn't give it a second glance as the allure and waft of smells coming from the carvery had us fixated.
Although very tempted, we all declined dessert. Otherwise the shopping trip would've been abandoned and we would all be checking in for the afternoon to have a nap in one of the bedrooms.

An exceptional 'Award Winning Carvery' which is served in the Bistro Monday – Saturday 12noon – 3.30pm and in the Bistro and Ballroom on a Sunday 12noon – 7.30pm. Give it a try if you're passing – you won't be disappointed!

Gillian Cahoon

The Belfray Country Inn can be found at 171 Glenshane Road, L'Derry. Find out more and check their menu online at

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